Cisco to Re:Birth Films: Welcome to the Legal Network
Spec work with brand logos goes without saying. Everyone does it. Cisco Systems however didn't appreciate the recent Re:Birth Films' Creation Begins campaign and asked the shop to remove its logo from the work. (Clip below.) While you might sympathize with any shop that's just trying to build its portfolio/reel and gets caught like this, it's no longer enough to say well, it was only a spec campaign on our site, especially if they have licensing arrangements in place with agencies re: copyrighted material (songs, specific actors, etc.)
It's because the internet is everywhere that large clients are still very much freaked out about where their work shows up. This is why social media campaigns scare the shit out of many of them too: They can't control it, and if they can't control it, they don't want to take part.
Some brands are cool about it though. On one hand, more views builds visibility for the brand and all who took part. On the other, if just anyone passes it around and there's a song used in the clip without permission, the artist loses out on royalty deals they may or may not have in place.
In other words, Re:Birth is right and wrong. Right because they now have the PR they likely wouldn't have had before, yet wrong because they got caught doing what most everyone else has done at one time or another.
Welcome to the advertising network.